Short Texts that Support Great Literacy Instruction
What books do you need to have on hand as you launch the writing workshop at the beginning of the year? Texts to Support Launching the Writing Workshop is an annotated bibliography of our time-tested favorites for beginning the year in writing. Enhanced with quick blurbs about why we like them and how we use them, this free download will direct your search for outstanding mentor texts for launching the writing workshop!
Fireflies!: Story and Pictures
Author: Julie Brinckloe
At the beginning of the year, a great emphasis is placed on helping students to recognize their own stories. Fireflies is a universal story that most children can relate to. The writing is beautiful as is the story. This book is the perfect springboard to personal narrative entries and stories.
A Writer's Notebook: Unlocking the Writer within You
Author: Ralph J. Fletcher
This book begins with a chapter titled, “What is a notebook anyway?” If you teach third grade or above, you will be launching notebooks, and hence, helping students develop a concept and understanding of notebooks. Not only does this book help define notebooks, it also helps clarify what goes into the notebook. Though you will only share short excerpts from this gem of a book, it is a treasure from cover to cover.
Live Writing: Breathing Life into Your Words
Author: Ralph J. Fletcher
As you can see, Ralph Fletcher is the go-to guy for launching writing workshop. When it comes to clarifying the qualities of good writing, this book is filled with ideas and exercises that you can present to students to strengthen the overall quality of their writing. Again, you will only share short excerpts as it suits the needs you recognize in your writers, but, again, it is a gem from cover to cover.
Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid
Author: Ralph J. Fletcher
While the other two Ralph Fletcher recommendations were “how-to” guides, Marshfield Dreams is a memoir. Filled with enchanting stories of Fletcher’s youth, this book is a great springboard to helping children generate ideas and recognize value in their own life experiences. A writing workshop favorite: Statue on page 9.
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
Author: Mem Fox and Julie Vivas
Where do writers get ideas? By writing about things that they remember. And how do we access our memories? Well, that is just the journey that Mem Fox takes us on as she introduces us to Wilfrid Gordon who loves spending time with Miss Nancy Allison Delacourt Cooper, who is old and has forgotten much of the past. Wilfrid Gordon has a special way of helping Miss Nancy reconnect with her memories. Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge is a wonderful introduction to using artifacts as a way of helping students access their own memories giving them lots of ideas for personal narrative writing.
Out of the OceanAuthor: Debra Frasier
Seeing the world through a writer’s eyes means observing and noticing things that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. Out of the Ocean is a story about a girl who visits the ocean to collect the treasures that have washed up on shore. From a writing perspective, it is the perfect metaphor for living the writerly life.
Author: Marla Frazee
Instead of telling about the day at the park, Roller Coaster focuses only on the roller coaster ride. As you begin to introduce students to the idea of finding focus and valuing life’s small moments, Roller Coaster serves as the perfect mentor text.
My Mama Had a Dancing Heart
Hey World, Here I Am!
Author: Jean Little and Sue Truesdell
This book is filled with short pieces that feel like notebook entries. In addition, as you work with your intermediate or middle school aged students to develop the concept of a notebook, this book has a great piece titled, “About Notebooks,” which helps students grow their understanding by helping them to understand the importance of selecting the “right” notebook.
Author: Lois Lowry
Photographs are the perfect springboard to finding ideas that will help students fill their writer’s notebooks with ideas for writing. Looking Back is a treasury of photos with reflections from the author. Lois Lowry uses this book to explain to readers where ideas for many of the stories she has published have come from. This book serves as an excellent model for children who want to use photos to inspire ideas and notebook entries of their own.
Word after Word after Word
Author: Patricia MacLachlan
How do ideas become stories? What if we have nothing to write about? Why do you write? These are some of the big questions that we tackle as part of the writing workshop. This beautiful new book by Patricia MacLachlan introduces us to Ms. Mirabel, an author who has come to visit a fourth grade class to help them connect with their own stories and understand how writing can change their lives.
Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street
Author: Roni Schotter and Kyrsten Brooker
One of the questions that drive the beginning of the year in writing workshop is “Where do writers get ideas?” In this book, Eva is on a quest to answer just that question. With the help of her neighbors, she discovers great tips that help her to craft her own story. The tips will most definitely help your writers as well!
Once upon a Cloud
Author: Rob D. Walker and Matt Mahurin
Writers wonder. This lyrical picture book wonders about clouds and what they are. A perfect springboard to helping children write their own “wondering” entries.
All the Small Poems and Fourteen More
Author: Valerie Worth and Natalie Babbitt
Seeing the world like a writer means noticing ordinary, everyday things. Valerie Worth is an expert at seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary. These poems are a the perfect model for encouraging students to fill their writers’ notebooks with musings about the mundane.